How to Select an Ideal Cleaning Agent

enzymatic cleaner reprocessing supplies

Never underestimate the importance of an ideal cleaning agent.

Central sterile/sterile processing department (CS/SPD) and perioperative personnel share a great responsibility in ensuring the safety of surgical patients. Cleaning is the most critical step in the reprocessing of surgical instruments and devices. Improperly cleaned instruments and complex reusable devices, such as endoscopes, place patients at serious risk of healthcare-associated infections. Therefore it is absolutely essential that an optimized, high-quality detergent is used.

But what constitutes an ideal cleaning agent? Unfortunately, all detergent formulations are not created equal. But industry-leading organizations such as The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI), ASTM International and the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) have set high standards for cleaning agents.

These standards, which should guide CS/SPD departments’ quality assurance plans, define an ideal cleaning agent as one that is:

  • Able to clean and remove clinically relevant soils. One detergent can be used for all cleaning issues, and its powerful cleaning action reduces the need for manual scrubbing.

  • Nonabrasive. Less damage means fewer replacements and reduced cost.

  • Compatible with the materials being cleaned (and the cleaning equipment). There is less damage to medical devices, and the department can use one detergent for all needs.

  • Low-foaming. Cleaning performance is better, and there are fewer washer and ultrasonic problems such as cycle abortion and equipment damage.

  • Free-rinsing. This translates into greater patient safety, especially involving toxic anterior segment syndrome (TASS).

  • Biodegradable. Environmental friendliness is more important than ever.

  • Nontoxic. CS/SPD workers are kept safe, protected from chemical intoxication.

  • Able to provide adequate use and shelf life. This allows for better warehouse management, lowers the cost of purchases and results in less waste due to product expiration.

  • Able to rapidly dissolve and disperse soils. Better product performance shortens cleaning time, saves money on energy and decreases the need to reclean.

  • Cost-effective. The financial bottom line is important to every department of a hospital and surgical center.

The Results Are In

After rigorous testing by three expert laboratory testing services—EAG Laboratories/Eurofins Materials Science, Geneva Laboratories and RespirTek Consulting Laboratory—the Ruhof family of enzymatic detergents was found to exhibit all 10 characteristics of an ideal cleaning agent. In addition to conforming to AORN and AAMI guidelines for optimal cleaning detergent characteristics, the Ruhof line was the first and only to conform to 2018 ASTM D8179 standards.

The Ruhof line of enzymatic detergents includes:

Ruhof, the pioneer in instrument and scope care, is committed to helping you meet and exceed your decontamination and materials management challenges. From cleaning chemistries and instrument and scope reprocessing products to cleaning verification and detergent delivery systems, Ruhof can serve as a valuable resource for your team. And because ongoing education, training and mentoring are critical to the success of any clinical department, Ruhof offers a program of free accredited continuing education for nurses and CS/SPD techs at both local facilities and national association trade shows.

To request samples and/or contact a sales rep for more information, visit

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